SCHWEIZER BOTSCHAFT IN BEIJING
EMBASSY OF SWITZERLAND IN BEIJING
AMBASSADE DE SUISSE EN CHINE

Der wöchentliche Presserückblick der Schweizer Botschaft in der VR China
The Weekly Press Review of the Swiss Embassy in the People's Republic of China
La revue de presse hebdomadaire de l'Ambassade de Suisse en RP de Chine
  25.5-29.5.09, No. 270  
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Table of contents

H1N1 flu

DPRK and South Korea

Mongolia

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Foreign Policy

Spending spree in Central Asia a strategic tactic (SCMP)
2009-05-25
While the rest of the world reels from the global economic crisis, China is using its deep pockets to bolster its position in strategically vital Central Asia, analysts say. In recent months Beijing has been on a spending spree among the Central Asian states to its west, handing over a US$10 billion loan to cash-strapped Kazakhstan last month and stepping up construction projects and investment from Ashgabat to Bishkek. Although experts say the recent Chinese splurge is part of a long-term strategy for the region, few question the fact that Beijing's hand has never been stronger, something it is well aware of. […] Of primary concern for Beijing is the long, porous border between Kazakhstan and Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, Dr Kaukenov says. […] Now, with Russia and the United States struggling to compete in the face of domestic economic woes, China has a chance to secure the stability and assets it craves at bargain-bin prices. […]. ^ top ^

China to provide 30-mln-yuan worth humanitarian relief materials to Pakistan (Xinhua)
2009-05-26
Beijing - China announced here on Tuesday that it will provide 30 million yuan (about 4.4 million US dollars) in humanitarian relief materials to Pakistan to help civilians displaced by fighting between the government and the Taliban. "The first batch will be airlifted to Pakistan on Wednesday which include water purification equipment, power generator and medicine," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu told a regular press briefing. […]. ^ top ^

ASEM Foreign Ministers' Meeting discusses joint efforts to tackle global challenges (Xinhua)
2009-05-26
Hanoi - The 9th Foreign Ministers' Meeting of the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) that ended in Hanoi on Tuesday discussed joint efforts to cope with financial and economic crisis and other global challenges, said Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi in an interview with Xinhua here on Tuesday. […] Yang said ministers at the meeting unanimously held that countries should fully implement the important documents passed at last year's Beijing ASEM 7 and make joint efforts to combat the international financial crisis. […] Ministers have also reaffirmed their commitment to orienting the international financial mechanism towards a more open, equitable, inclusive and rule-based direction, said Yang. […] The ministers also called for more assistance and financing channels from the international community to the low-income and poor countries, Yang told Xinhua in the interview. […]. ^ top ^

U.S. senator: Climate change negotiating team to come to China (Xinhua)
2009-05-28
Beijing - U.S. Senator John Kerry said here Thursday that the Obama administration would send a negotiating team on climate change to China in the next two weeks or so. The U.S. president's top science advisor, John Holdren, and the designated negotiator for climate change, Todd Stern, would meet with Chinese officials, Kerry, who is also chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, told a press briefing. […] Kerry further noted that both countries had agreed to pursue immediate opportunities for bilateral cooperation on clean energy. […]. ^ top ^

Pelosi addresses human right - to a safe climate (SCMP)
2009-05-29
US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has urged Beijing to co-operate on climate change, calling a safe environment a basic human right. Mrs Pelosi yesterday continued the theme of her five-day China trip - that combating global warming represented a new challenge that both governments must tackle jointly. "We are all in this together," Mrs Pelosi told an audience of about 200 students and faculty who applauded enthusiastically throughout the 45-minute session at the elite Tsinghua University. "The impact of climate change is a tremendous risk to the security and well-being of our countries." Mrs Pelosi's trip has been notable for skirting human rights and the fierce criticisms she has frequently levelled at the central government. The visit comes as US President Barack Obama's administration emphasises climate change as a new area where the two governments can broaden already wide-ranging engagement. […] . ^ top ^

 

Domestic Policy

Chinese Red Cross Foundation confirms donation embezzled, volunteer involved (Xinhua)
2009-05-22
Beijing - The Chinese Red Cross Foundation (CRCF) confirmed Friday that some donations to leukemia children were embezzled and a staff member was to blame. Ma Shujun, a program volunteer, allegedly copied ID cards and residency documents from parents of leukemia children in the name of helping them apply for financial assistance, said a CRCF statement. The foundation said Ma, a father of a child with leukemia who received funding from the same program, opened bank accounts using those parent's documents. He then stole money from the accounts after the CRCF transferred them funding, the statement said. […] The Guangdong-based Southern Metropolitan Daily reported Friday that, according to its own investigation, 27 families were Ma's victims and about 555,000 yuan (around 81,000 U.S. dollars) was stolen. The CRCF official told Xinhua that the total amount might be more than the figure reported by the newspaper. […] In a printed email letter published by the Southern Metropolitan Daily, Ma admitted to CRCF secretary-general Wang Rupeng that he did help parents apply for funding and open bank accounts. He said he helped seven families successfully qualify for 140,000 yuan. He also admitted that he only deposited half of the 20,000 yuan in assistance they each received from the CRCF into the bank accounts he opened. He took the other half for "other parents who needed help." […]. ^ top ^

Police free 32 mentally-handicapped from forced labor, arrest 10 suspects (Xinhua)
2009-05-22
Hefei - Police in east China's Anhui Province have arrested 10 suspects for allegedly beating and forcing 32 mentally-handicapped people working in brick kilns in slave-like conditions. […] "All of them are mentally handicapped people aged between 25 and 45. Few of them can tell where they were from," said Gao. He said the police helped 19 of them find their homes, and the remaining 13 had been temporarily sheltered in a welfare house in Jieshou, waiting for the families to pick them up. […] Police say the people were forced into hard labor for more than10 hours a day without pay. Some of them were found to have been beaten. Gao said police were still investigating the case, looking for evidence of the possible trafficking of mentally handicapped people. […]. ^ top ^

Bad news not fit to print, say officials - Guangdong media told to toe the line (SCMP)
2009-05-25
[…] The provincial Press and Publication Bureau held an urgent meeting with the management of Guangdong's media outlets on Friday and ordered them to toe the official line on non-coverage of politically sensitive topics, Radio France Internationale reported yesterday. In directives issued at the meeting, news portals and other websites have been ordered not to publish negative news, especially on social disputes or critiques of the provincial law-and-order system and organs. The report said the directives were from the party's propaganda department, saying national interest was above all else and media coverage should be focusing on positive guidance, which would keep society stable. The directives also ban the reprinting of political content from "unofficial publications" and using news reports from overseas media. […]. ^ top ^

Net version of liberal magazine suspended (SCMP)
2009-05-25
The online version of a liberal magazine on the mainland has been suspended since Saturday, sparking suspicions the crackdown might have occurred because its publisher was one of the key planners of Zhao Ziyang's memoir. The website of the outspoken monthly magazine Yanhuang Chunqiu - yhcqw.com - was recently shut down with no warning or any indication of a reason. […] Wu Si, the editor-in-chief of the journal, said he became aware of the closure at 4pm on Saturday. "According to our network engineer, the internet service provider concerned had abruptly severed all access to our website on Saturday, giving no explanation," he said. It was unclear whether the lack of access to the website had anything to do with the magazine's 86-year-old publisher, Du Daozheng , a veteran journalist and former director of the General Administration of Press and Publications, one of the mainland's official censors. Mr Du recently admitted that he was among the four Communist Party veterans - all of them former subordinates of Zhao, the ousted party general secretary - who urged Zhao in the early 1990s to record his first-hand perspective of the Tiananmen Square crackdown on tape. […]. ^ top ^

Building style caused collapses, book says (SCMP)
2009-05-26
The use of old-fashioned building methods was the main reason schools collapsed more readily than other buildings in the Sichuan earthquake last year, according to a book compiled from hazard assessment reports. The book, entitled Wenchuan Earthquake Building Damage Investigation and Analysis of Post-disaster Reconstruction, was published by China Architecture and Building Press. Reports about the book appeared in several mainland newspapers yesterday. Produced by some of the most prominent universities on the mainland, the book supports the official conclusion that there is no evidence that poor building quality caused thousands of students to die in the disaster. […] A main theme of the book is that the school buildings collapsed not because of bad quality but their old-fashioned structure. […] In the Sichuan quake zone, and other less developed areas, masonry is still the dominant structure for schools, government-subsidised housing and factories. […]. ^ top ^

Promotions out for disgraced officials (China Daily)
2009-05-26
[…] Under upcoming regulations, disgraced government and Party officials found responsible for major accidents won't be getting future promotions at all. "Unless they make extraordinary contributions to society in their new positions, those officials should never be promoted again," Zhao Jie, an expert on government regulations at the Party School of the Central Committee of Communist Party of China (CPC), told China Daily yesterday. More than 80,000 people in major administrative departments across the country have been disciplined last year, according to an official report. But recently, a string of cases in which officials sacked for misconduct have been given new jobs or even promotions have ignited criticism on the Internet. Last week, Shao Liyong, an official in Shandong province who was fired for using public money for an overseas sightseeing trip during the mourning period for the Sichuan earthquake last year, was appointed vice-head of the same provincial administration in another city. Earlier it was revealed that Bao Junkai, an official who was disgraced in the Sanlu tainted milk scandal in which six infants died, moved to a higher position at Anhui Entry-Exit Inspection and Quarantine Bureau. […]. ^ top ^

China's cabinet approves penalties in major work accidents (Xinhua)
2009-05-27
Beijing - May 26 (Xinhua) -- The State Council, China's Cabinet, has approved a decision to impose harsh criminal and disciplinary penalties on 169 people held responsible for five major work-related accidents over the past two years, the State Administration of Work Safety (SAWS) announced Tuesday. SAWS said cases involving 131 people had been handed over to judicial departments for criminal prosecution. The five accidents included a mine blast in Linfen in north China's Shanxi Province that killed 105 on Dec. 5, 2007, a train collision in east China on April 28 last year that claimed 72 lives, and a landslide at an unlicensed iron ore tailings facility, also in Linfen, that killed 277 people. […]. ^ top ^

Former Chinese mayor stripped of legislative post over adulterated milk scandal (Xinhua)
2009-05-27
Shijiazhuang - A former mayor was Wednesday removed from his post as deputy to the National People's Congress, the top legislature, for his role in last year's adulterated milk scandal. Ji Chuntang, former mayor of Shijiazhuang, capital of the northern province of Hebei, covered up the scandal and failed to take appropriate action, the Hebei provincial legislature said. Ji resigned from the post of mayor last September when the scandal came to light. He then was stripped of the post of deputy secretary of the Shijiazhuang City Committee of the Communist Party of China. […]. ^ top ^

New generation of migrant workers faces identity crisis (Xinhua)
2009-05-27
Hefei - […] According to Cao Bingtai, vice director of the migrants work office of Jiangsu Province, some 25 percent of young male migrant workers the office polled this year and 35 percent of the women said they never sent money to their parents at home.[...] Nanjing Normal University surveyed young migrant workers in the manufacturing, mining and service industries. The survey found that 54.2 percent of the 2,500 "new generation" migrant workers polled said improving themselves was the major reason they had left home. Another 9.2 percent said they wanted to enrich their lives and 4.2 percent hoped to gain residence in a city, something their parents' generation seldom aspired to. Their educational levels are rising, too. According to another survey, this one conducted by the School of Politics and Public Administration of the Jiangsu-based Suzhou University, 32.4 percent of the 450 young migrants it polled in Suzhou and Huai'an were graduates of vocational schools, 48.3 percent were middle school graduates and 10.8 percent had graduated from colleges or similar institutions. Cao noted that 15 percent of the young migrant workers in his survey vowed never to return to their rural homes. "The new generation of workers are internal immigrants," said Wang Kaiyu, research fellow at the Anhui provincial Academy of Social Sciences. […] But regardless of their residence status, most migrants still find themselves "on the outside, looking in" at the big cities. […] The problem was most obvious when it came to their children's education. […]. ^ top ^

19 Cities Get Nod for Urban Rails (China Daily)
2009-05-27
A new wave of mass urban rail transit construction is set to kick off soon with the National Development and Reform Commission approving plans of 19 cities. About 2,100 km of railway lines will be laid and operational by 2015 in the 19 cities, Dou Hao, the deputy general manager of China International Engineering Consulting Corporation (CIECC), said yesterday at a press conference for Metro China 2009, the biggest exhibition of its kind in China held in November. The projects will involve an investment of at least 800 billion yuan (US$117 billion), he said. […] "The increase is a result of government measures to boost economy. It's very quick to have a railway project approved," Zhou Xiaoqin, director of transport project department with CIECC, said.[…]. ^ top ^

Second commentary backs Beijing on Zhao - 'Ironclad case' against late reformist leader (SCMP)
2009-05-29
A second commentary on the memoirs of ousted Communist Party chief Zhao Ziyang says the party's verdict on the late reformist leader was an "ironclad case" and "historically indisputable". The commentary by the semi-official Hong Kong China News Agency (HKCNA) attacked Zhao, ruling out any attempt to reverse the party's verdict on him and analysing his "mistakes". Tuesday's commentary attacked western media for trying to pressure Beijing to overturn its verdict on the June 4 Tiananmen Square crackdown. […] Paul Lin, a Taipei-based political commentator who taught Communist Party history on the mainland from 1955 to 1976, said the articles might be a sign of an internal power struggle, suggesting there are some voices within the party calling for a revision of its verdict on Zhao. […] Both commentaries accused western media of "ballyhooing" Zhao's memoirs on the eve of the 20th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square crackdown with the intention of trying to force Beijing to overturn its June 4 verdict and adopt western-style democracy. […]. ^ top ^

Public concern and costs blamed for water scheme delay (SCMP)
2009-05-29
A massive water diversion project aimed at addressing the imbalance between the relatively wet south and parched north has been postponed because authorities may have underestimated the difficulties and cost of the undertaking, experts say […] While it may have dashed the capital's plans to alleviate its severe water shortage by 2010, the delay also highlighted growing opposition to the world's biggest water diversion project - whose impact on society and the environment could rival that of the Three Gorges Dam. State media cited the rising costs of resettling hundreds of thousands of people and expensive measures needed to clean up pollution as the main reasons for the postponement. Many experts now say authorities may have underestimated the difficulties of such a colossal undertaking and they are now starting to question the rationale behind the project. […]. ^ top ^

Two reporters beaten as gag on case tightens - Pressure on activists over accused killer's plight (SCMP)
2009-05-29
Two reporters were beaten in Hubei's Badong county as local authorities sealed off the epicentre of a scandal involving a cadre allegedly killed by a hotel pedicurist. […] Both reporters said they had proper media credentials. A media gag was introduced by central government censors on Tuesday. News organisations were ordered to halt their reporting on the case and recall reporters from Hubei, saying the case was under judicial investigation. Deng's plight has sparked one of the biggest civil rights movements on the mainland in recent years as various groups showed their solidarity with her. Many netizens and reporters have travelled to Yesanguan to follow the case voluntarily. But a group of five women's rights activists who arrived in Yesanguan on Monday said the town was eerily quiet because access to it had been cut by local authorities. […] " We've been followed by more than a dozen plain-clothes police since we arrived in Badong. Now, the electricity and water supply to our hotel has been cut off. They are trying to make us give in," said Ms Zhou. […]. ^ top ^

Mainland executions up 260pc, report says (SCMP)
2009-05-29
At least 1,700 people were executed on the mainland last year, up 260 per cent from the year before, and more than 7,000 death sentences were handed down by the mainland courts, Amnesty International said yesterday in its annual human rights report. The mainland accounted for more than 70 per cent of the 2,390 executions worldwide, it said. […] It said human rights defenders, petitioners, religious practitioners, ethnic minorities, lawyers, and journalists had risked being subjected to torture and other ill-treatment by the authorities and unidentified individuals in the run-up to the Beijing Olympics in August. Beijing was also accused of tightening its grip on free expression last year. […] Amnesty said several Tibetans were suspected to have been tortured to death in detention centres or labour camps. Meanwhile, the suppression of Uygurs had been stepped up in the name of fighting terrorism, it said. ^ top ^

 

Shanghai

Ten suspects detained in Shanghai gang shooting that kills two (Xinhua)
2009-05-23
Police in Shanghai have detained 10 suspects in the fatal clash between two gangs that left two dead on Friday, local authorities said Saturday. An argument over debt dispute between two gangs became violent and shots were fired Friday noon at the entrance of Huilihuayuan Residence on Changshou Road, Putuo District, police said. A seriously-wounded man died Friday after he fled the scene, while another one died in Huadong Hospital early Saturday. Two others were injured and being treated in the hospital, police said. Police have detained 10 suspects, including the two injured, seized four self-made guns, a knife and two vehicles. […] Chinese law prohibits the private ownership of guns. […]. ^ top ^

 

Guangdong

China to hold trade fair for foreign-invested companies with free booths, hotels, meals (Xinhua)
2009-05-25
Guangzhou - South China's Guangdong Province will host a trade fair from June 18 to 20 to help foreign-funded businesses cope with the economic downturn, a provincial official said Monday. The downturn has taken a toll on foreign-funded companies in China's "Factory of the World," said Wu Jun, deputy director of the Guangdong Provincial Foreign Trade Bureau. The fair, the first of its kind, will provide about 2,500 booths free for businesses selling appliances, consumer electronics, toys, food, kitchen ware, clothing and construction materials. More than 1,000 companies have applied to attend the fair in Dongguan, Guangdong. Organizers will offer free hotels and meals for the exhibitors and buyers. ^ top ^

Shenzhen gets long-awaited nod for reforms - Scheme tabled 8 years ago splits city's administration into three (SCMP)
2009-05-27
A Shenzhen administrative reform designed to enhance the government's internal checks and balances has been approved by the central government some eight years after it was first proposed. Shenzhen government sources yesterday said the proposal to separate administrative power into three independent branches had been given the green light by Beijing. It is part of a larger restructuring plan Shenzhen submitted to the central government for approval this year. The plan, which includes several proposals, was aimed at transforming the city into a centre of finance and innovation. The administrative reform proposal was one of the key items in the restructuring plan, the source said. The government will divide its administration into three branches: policy-formulation, execution and supervision. At present, these are concentrated in a few hands, leading to abuse of power and confusion. […] Overseas media initially confused it with the western concept of separation of power between an executive, legislature and judiciary. But it soon became clear this was only an internal balance of power. Still, the plan ran into great resistance from bureaucrats, who feared the reform would reduce their power and subject them to greater oversight. [...]. ^ top ^

Former Guangdong CPPCC chairman expelled from legislature amid corruption investigation (Xinhua)
2009-05-28
Guangzhou - Chen Shaoji, former chairman of the Guangdong provincial committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) has been stripped of his seat in the provincial legislature to facilitate an ongoing corruption probe against him. […] The provincial legislature adopted a decision to the effect at a meeting of its standing committee on the same day. Chen, born in 1945, had been dismissed from his post as chairman of the Guangdong provincial committee of CPPCC, a political advisory body, in April. ^ top ^

 

Macau

Tough questions at Macau poll launch - Ex-minister kicks off campaign for top job (SCMP)
2009-05-26
Macau chief executive hopeful Fernando Chui Sai-on kicked off his campaign yesterday with a manifesto stressing he would fight corruption and build a clean administration. As he picked up his nomination form with three other residents yesterday, he stressed the need "to inherit and innovate". Dr Chui, the former culture minister, played down concerns that his powerful family background would have implications for his impartiality and independence. […] He was confronted with tough questions from a woman who posed as a journalist of Yazhou Zhoukan, a Hong Kong-based news magazine, to enter the meeting in the Plaza Restaurant. She asked about Dr Chui's business family background and how his brother's company acquired a site from the government at below-market price in 2006. […]. ^ top ^

 

Taiwan

Mainland expects to start talking about cross-Strait economic pact after June (Xinhua)
2009-05-26
Beijing - The Chinese mainland expects talks about a cross-Strait economic cooperation agreement to start in the latter half of this year, said President Hu Jintao here Tuesday. "Both sides should push forwards the preparation work for signing the agreement," said Hu, general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, at a meeting with visiting Kuomintang (KMT) Chairman Wu Poh-hsiung. […] The mainland prefers an economic agreement that will benefit economic development on both sides, improve people's welfare and contribute to a cooperative mechanism that fits the cross-Strait reality, he said. ^ top ^

Hu urges vision in dealing with Taiwan issue (SCMP)
2009-05-27
President Hu Jintao called for long-term vision in developing cross-strait relations yesterday as he again met Taiwan's ruling party chairman, a year after a historic meeting that set the stage for much-improved relations with the island. […] He emphasised that much had been achieved in the past year, but to push cross-strait relations forward, the leaders "must stand at the height of looking at the development of the whole of the Chinese people" and "stick to the correct direction". […] Both leaders mentioned the financial crisis, and agreed that a cross-strait economic co-operation framework agreement would be the main focus of discussions in the second half of the year. […] Although communist leaders and Mr Wu have continued to stress the importance of the party-to-party platform, there are fears about the future as Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou appears likely to take over as Kuomintang chairman this year. The platform, which first took form in 2005 when then Kuomintang chairman Lien Chan visited the mainland in the first contact between the parties, has succeeded as an exchange between two party heads instead of government leaders. Addressing speculation that the lack of a specific agenda for Mr Wu's trip implies that the purpose is to determine how future party-to-party talks would take place, the 70-year-old said he and Mr Hu did not discuss any leadership change, and he refused to comment on his stepping down. […]. ^ top ^

Chinese mainland delegation on shopping spree in Taiwan (Xinhua)
2009-05-28
Taipei - A trade and culture delegation from the Chinese mainland's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region to Taiwan has made tangible progress in trade and cultural exchanges in the island, the region's government said Thursday. As of Wednesday, Guangxi and Taiwan had signed 281 million U.S. dollars worth of contracts, under which the autonomous region will buy more than 200 million U.S. dollars worth of products from Taiwan, according to Liu Shusen, director of Guangxi's commerce department. The purchases include electronics items, leather goods and agricultural produce such as 166 tonnes of fruit and 300 tonnes of tea. [….] "The preparations are underway and we plan to convene seven to nine purchasing groups in next five months," said Yang Yi, spokesman of the State Council's Taiwan Affairs Office, at a press conference Wednesday. […]. ^ top ^

 

Tibet

Paris to honour Dalai Lama (SCMP)
2009-05-27
A Tibetan representative in France says the Dalai Lama will probably be received by the mayor of Paris during a visit to the French capital. Wangpo Bashi, of the Office of Tibet in Paris, said he believed Mayor Bertrand Delanoe would host a ceremony to honour the exiled Tibetan leader. The Foreign Ministry warned that such a ceremony could spark anti-French sentiment. ^ top ^

 

Economy

China's major wheat producer forecasts bumper summer harvest (Xinhua)
2009-05-22
Zhengzhou - China's leading grain producer Henan Province could see the sixth consecutive summer grain bumper harvest, despite prolonged drought, Xinhua learned from the Henan Provincial Department of Agriculture Friday. "We forecast, after an initial investigation, that the summer grain output this year will not be lower than that of last year," said Zhu Mengzhou, head of the department. The announcement is important because Henan produces a quarter of China's wheat. Dubbed the "barn of China", the province has broken its own summer grain harvest record five years in a row. […] The province spent nearly 1.47 billion yuan (237 million U.S. dollars) in drought relief efforts, such as watering farmland. Another 1.3 billion yuan (191 million U.S. dollars) was spent on building new irrigation projects. […]. ^ top ^

China unveils first sovereign credit rating standards (Xinhua)
2009-05-23
Beijing - China unveiled Saturday credit rating standards for the sovereignty entity of a central government, the first sovereign credit rating standards in China, aiming broader participation in global credit rating. The standards were announced by Dagong Global Credit Rating Co., Ltd, one of the first domestic rating agencies in China. The sovereign credit rating standards would be able to evaluate the willingness and ability of a central government to repay its commercial financial debts as stipulated in contracts, said the company. The rating results could reflect the relative possibility of a central government to default as a debtor, and the rating is based on the country's overall credit value, according to Dagong. […] Compared with other rating agencies, Dagong pays more attention to the different economic stage of each country, and examines the features of its credit risks in a holistic and systematic view, according to Dagong. […]. ^ top ^

Beijing boosts the private sector (SCMP)
2009-05-26
Beijing has pledged to further liberalise the economy and give the private sector a bigger role to play, in the face of a deepening global recession and fears that stalled reforms have undermined the efficiency of the world's third largest economy. In a guideline outlining economic restructuring for the year, the State Council pledged to ease restrictions on private investment in state-controlled sectors - once seen as being of strategic significance and concerning national security - such as oil, power and public utilities. "The structural problems that have been building up in China's economy for quite some time have become more acute with domestic growth slowing and the world economy yet to bottom out," said the document, drafted by the National Development and Reform Commission, the country's top economic planning agency. Analysts said the global financial crisis had strengthened the government's determination to speed up market reform as there was growing consensus among policymakers that stalled reform had reduced economic efficiency. […] The document illustrates reforms to loosen restrictions on outbound investment, saying the government will further streamline management procedures to support enterprises "going out" and improve policies related to credit loans, foreign exchange, finance, taxation and businessmen's visas for international travel. The document also outlines steps to reform the government's function in the economy, reduce its intervention in business and promote its efficiency in services. […]. ^ top ^

China's household income reforms unveiled (China Daily)
2009-05-26
Beijing - China will fast track its payment system reforms to boost household income, especially those of the medium- and low-income group, and spur consumption, the State Council said on Monday. The cabinet Monday listed as many as nine steps to increase household income, according to a statement on the reform guidelines posted on its website. Executives of State-owned enterprises may see their salaries trimmed to narrow the gap between the rich and the poor amid an economic slump that has put pressure on profits and wiped out millions of jobs, according to the statement. Other measures to encourage spending include an improved social security net, reduced precautionary savings, and increased income for rural and low-income households through fiscal transfers, it said. […]. ^ top ^

China's State Council rolls out more policy to boost exports (Xinhua)
2009-05-28
Beijing - China's State Council announced Wednesday further support policies, including expanded export credit insurance, tax breaks and more financial access, to help exporters. An executive meeting of the State Council, or Cabinet, also said the country would keep the yuan "basically stable" at a "reasonable and balanced" level to help exporters avoid exchange risks. […] The government will provide 84 billion U.S. dollars worth of short-term export credit insurance to trading companies to help increase exports. Preferential policies and tax breaks will mainly go to labor-intensive and high-tech industries to protect world market share. […]. ^ top ^

 

H1N1 flu

Hunan limits patient's details (SCMP)
2009-05-27
Hunan health authorities confirmed a swine flu case yesterday, bringing the number of known infections on the mainland to 12. But unlike previous reports, which have revealed patients' family names and travel activities, the Hunan provincial officials withheld most of the patient's personal information.The public was only told that the man, 19, had been studying in New York and took a flight to Beijing on May 21 and to Changsha the day after. The hospital where he is being treated turned down all media requests to interview him. But other patients have been less fortunate.[…]. ^ top ^

First domestic case on mainland 'soon' (SCMP)
2009-05-29
It is only a matter of time before the mainland has its first domestic case of swine flu, Beijing's top epidemiologist warned yesterday, as the nation reported its 15th patient with the virus. Zeng Guang, chief epidemiologist at the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, also told Xinhua that a community infection might happen soon. "We can successfully delay it but it doesn't mean it is not coming," he said. "[…] Dr Zeng urged the public not to panic, even when a community infection did occur. […]. ^ top ^

 

DPRK and South Korea

Chinese gov't "resolutely opposes" DPRK's nuclear test (Xinhua)
2009-05-25
Beijing - China was resolutely opposed to the nuclear test by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), the Foreign Ministry said here in a statement Monday. […] It has been the firm and consistent stance of the Chinese government to achieve non-nuclearization on the Korean Peninsula and oppose proliferation of nuclear weapons in an effort to maintain peace and stability in northeast Asia, the statement stressed. The statement voiced a strong demand that the DPRK live up to its commitment to non-nuclearization on the Korean Peninsula, stop any activity that might worsen the situation and return to the track of the six-party talks. The statement noted that maintaining peace and stability in northeast Asia region conformed to the common interests of all parties concerned, called for a calm response from all parties concerned and urged them to pursue peaceful resolution of the issue through consultation and dialogue. […]. ^ top ^

S Korea, US ramp up defence status - Troops on high alert over Pyongyang's threats; Moscow opposes sanctions (SCMP)
2009-05-29
South Korean and US troops went on higher alert yesterday after North Korea threatened an attack on the South, while Russia said it opposed fresh sanctions on the hermit state. […] "We are maintaining a tight defence posture to prevent the North's military provocations," ministry spokesman Won Tae-jae said. "The military will deal sternly with provocative acts." A western diplomat at the United Nations said leading powers were committed to a new resolution ordering tougher sanctions against Pyongyang. However, a Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman said it did not want to see North Korea isolated and Moscow believed the only way to resolve the standoff was through the now-suspended six-nation negotiations. […] The United States has stressed its resolve to defend Japan and South Korea amid what it called North Korean "sabre-rattling and bluster". […]. ^ top ^

 

Mongolia

Analysts feel victory may complicate Oyutolgoi deal, says Reuters report (www.news.mn)
2009-05-25
Reporting on the victory of Ts. Elbegdorj in Sunday's presidential elections, Reuters reports analysts as holding the view that the outcome could complicate a pivotal mining deal. Elbegdorj is expected to be more open to Western ties in foreign policy, as part of a "third neighbor" strategy to counter the influence of Russia and China, but analysts say his populist support could make policy making related to foreign involvement in the economy unpredictable. Analysts say Elbegdorj's populist leanings could complicate the formation of rules aimed at defining the role of foreign investors who want to develop mining projects. The most immediate question is whether a draft investment agreement on the USD3 billion Oyutolgoi project, set to be developed by Ivanhoe Mines and Rio Tinto will be held up further. […] Failure to seal the deal quickly could hamper Mongolia's ambitions to help pull its nearly 3 million people out of poverty. That poverty itself is what prompted many to vote for Elbegdorj. […]. ^ top ^

DP candidate wins in Presidential Election (Mongol Messenger)
2009-05-27
The opposition Democratic Party's (DP) Presidential Candidate Ts.Elbegdorj, has clearly won in the Mongolia's 5th Presidential election. The General Election Commission announced that 1.097.738 voters or 73.52 percent of voters participated in the election on May 24; 51.24 percent voted for Ts. Elbegdorj and 47.44 percent for N. Enkhbayar. […] Ts. Elbegdorj received most support in Ulaanbaatar, gaining 55.59 percent of all UB votes, whilst N.Enkhbayar was mostly supported by rural citizens, gaining 50.31 percent. The Mongolia People's Revolutionary Party (MPRP) has accepted Ts. Elbegdorj's victory based on information received before the General Election Commission announces preliminary election results. ^ top ^

 

Evelyne Freiermuth
Embassy of Switzerland
 

The Press review is a random selection of political and social related news gathered from various media and news services located in the PRC, edited or translated by the Embassy of Switzerland in Beijing and distributed among Swiss Government Offices. The Embassy does not accept responsibility for accuracy of quotes or truthfulness of content. Additionally the contents of the selected news mustn't correspond to the opinion of the Embassy.
 
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